When shopping around for a new car, there are several factors to consider. Some are about looks and some are about performance. Anyone who has ever bought a car can tell you that the options can be overwhelming, especially if you aren’t exactly sure what the differences are.

One of the biggest questions when choosing a car is front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive? Maybe you want to be safe and automatically choose all-wheel drive. Maybe you’re more attracted to the lower price tag on the front-wheel drive. Either way, there isn’t one right answer. This choice is truly something that is different for every driver.

Here are some important things to consider when choosing between FWD or AWD:

Don’t buy a 10% car.

Many people make the mistake of thinking that since they drive in rough conditions a few times a year, they need the sturdier vehicle. If you’re spending 90% of your time sitting in traffic on paved roads, it’s safe to chalk up a tally by the FWD option.

Don’t underestimate the power of good tires.

Good tires are so important. After all, they are the thing that separates your car from the road and the only thing that comes into contact with the elements (hopefully). Some AWD cars are sold with summer tires on them, which make them terrible to drive in snow and ice, even though all four wheels are hard at work.

Michelin did a test a few years ago to see which scenario was better between a front-wheel drive car with winter tires or an all-wheel drive car with all-season tires. In the test, the AWD vehicle only outperformed the FWD vehicle in acceleration. But in the other tests, the FWD was the winner. It is important to note that the FWD vehicle with winter tires took considerably less distance to come to a stop – an important feature in winter driving.

The ideal scenario would be to have an all-wheel drive car with winter tires on it. But this test goes to show you that tires are of extreme importance and can make a much bigger difference than you would think.

Both options have good and bad sides.

All-wheel drives are known to be more expensive for a couple of different reasons. First, the AWD models are more expensive than the FWD models of the same vehicle because of the way they are built – more power means more money. They also have higher ownership costs than their FWD counterparts. With fewer miles to the gallon and additional maintenance needs, their cost goes up even more. With a front-wheel drive vehicle, you can wave goodbye to these costs as you zoom by in your lighter, more fuel-efficient car.

However, when it comes time to trade-in or sell a car, AWD models tend to have a higher resale value, especially in places where inclement weather and rough terrain are more common (like right here in Minnesota). The extra cost of these vehicles can also pale in comparison to the costs of repairing a front-wheel drive vehicle that got a little too ambitious in snow- and ice-covered roads.


No matter which drivetrain is best for you, we have it all at Luther Kia in Inver Grove Heights, MN! Whether you’re interested in a 2016 Kia Sorento (available in both FWD and AWD) or one of our many pre-owned vehicles, we’re ready to help!
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